Do you have a to do list that looks like the one above? Here’s a list we have come up with that many of you reading this post can probably relate to. We could make a long list of people that we are responsible for or that need us, but here are some of the first groups of people that came to mind. See if you agree with any or all on the list:
- Those little human beings that we are raising at home – It truly is a juggling act as we try to meet the many different needs that each of our own children have. Trying to remember what each one likes and dislikes to eat, helping with homework, playing games, meetings needs of bath and food, and keeping up with their demands as they want all our attention when we finally step in the door at night.
- Those hundred or more little human beings that we are taking care of at school – Kids at school want lots of love and attention but often they show they need it in many different ways. It’s our job to support them and be there for all of them. Somehow we have to make sure that each of them are our priority. And that is no easy task.
- People we work with everyday at school – Staff can sometimes need you more than the kids. Often, their work and home plates are overflowing, and they just can’t handle one more thing. As the leader in the building, everyone else’s stress becomes something that you need to help them navigate and deal with. Although helping them is vital to being a servant leader, it can be emotionally tough to always be the support system. Someone is always dealing with a medical issue, experiencing a personal loss, having a disagreement with a colleague, struggling with time management, or simply encountering different life events. And we always need to be there to listen, remove some of the stress and lift them up.
- Parental units of those hundred or more little human beings at school – Just like our students need us, their parents need us as well. Sometimes they need us to help with parenting. Sometimes they need us to help with how they support their child at home. Sometimes they just need someone to yell at or a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes they don’t necessarily need us, but they know we are going to listen and always be there.
- Our significant others – Some of our husbands would most likely say that they are not even on this list…or if they were…they would easily get bumped like a passenger on an airplane! But our significant others do need us, and there are many times when we need to support them, help them with deal with stress, or be their shoulder to lean on. And then of course, there are the times where they simply need us to make sure they buy new clothes more than once a year, don’t make pizza one of the food groups, and remember to actually go to their yearly check up!
So now, here’s a question for you. Who is missing from this list? We are! It seems pretty commonplace that we, as mothers and as principals, tend to put ourselves last on the list or more often than not, we don’t even make it onto the list. Each day, we do so much to try to help others, that we definitely forget about taking care of ourselves. Are there many professions where people have to be reminded to eat or go to the bathroom? After a day of therapy sessions with children and adults in your office and handing out a whole box of Kleenex, who do you get to cry to? As you are reminding staff members to take care of themselves, does the thought cross your mind that maybe you need to schedule that doctor’s appointment, follow through with that exercise plan or simply treat yourself to quiet time in a coffee shop? It’s ok. You are allowed to put yourself on the list. You need to put yourself on the list. We all need to be reminded to take care of ourselves because that list of people that need us is not going away and is, in fact, always growing!